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Upgrades & Downgrades: Rent Netflix, Don't Buy

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Maybe the experts know something we don't know.

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Modest gains in equities, up in the final hour on news of a Dubai debt deal, gave the Dow its best November in eight years. See also Dubai World: The Freddie Mac of the Middle East. Strength in financials saw Goldman (GS) gain 3.57%, enabling an employee the opportunity to afford an engagement ring worthy of a former first daughter as wedding plans were appropriately made public on the day The Knot brought Nasdaq trading to a close. (Even on a Sachs salary however, the groom would struggle to afford five gold rings, with bullion gapping up to an all time high above $1,200 in electronic trading this morning).

Patriotism paid for US Steel (X) (+3.74%) and US Bancorp (USB) (+5.14%), each up on upgrades, and executives at Boston Properties (BXP) (+5.00% in a strong REIT tape) now have cash to splash on expensive champagne, if not the $150 bottles on offer at Beantown neighbor Boston Beer (SAM). Staples (SPLS) (see also Staples Is Vulnerable to Corporate Cutbacks) and Shanda Interactive (SNDA) announce earnings and in 10:00 AM Eastern economics, the Institute for Supply Management's November manufacturing index is expected to show a slight slippage.

Initiations

Check Point Software (CHKP): The stock is begun with a Buy at ThinkEquity Partners.

Clearwire Corp (CLWR): Clearwire is increased to Neutral from Sell at UBS, which takes its price target to $6 from $3 on a capital raise which "largely eliminates funding risk".

Oil & Gas: Stifel Financial starts select oil and gas exploration stocks including Chesapeake Energy (CHK) ($31 target price), Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) ($47), Petrohawk Energy (HK) ($28) with Buys. Range Resources (RRC) and XTO Energy Inc (XTO) are among its Holds.

Websense (WBSN): Lazard assumes coverage of Websense with Buy and a $20 target.

Monsanto (MON): The ag stock is picked up at Sell by Ticonderoga Securities ($68 target), which sees discounting and market share loss in the 2010 North American selling season.

Miscellaneous: Bank of America/Merrill Lynch initiates Teradata and AGA Medical, both Buys

Encana (ECA): Barclays begins EnCana at an Overweight.

Banco Santander (Brasil) (BSBR): Morgan Stanley initiates recent IPO Banco Santander (Brasil) at Overweight.

Boeing (BA): HSBC initiates Boeing with an Underweight and $45 target price as it views 2009 as the cyclical peak in aircraft output.

Upgrades

Limited Brands (LTD): Soleil Securities raises its Limited Brands rating to Buy from Hold on a more favorable valuation. Its price objective is $15.50. For more on retail, see Investors Should Wait for Retail's After-Christmas Sales.

Vistaprint (VPRT): The stock is added to the Focus List of select stocks at Kaufman Brothers, the broker citing a strong customer base among catalysts for 20% long term growth.

Packaging Corp. of America (PKG): PKG is added to the Focus List at Credit Suisse as underappreciated pricing power and margin expansion should prove positive going forward.

Eli Lilly (LLY): Goldman removes Eli Lilly from its Conviction Sell list at Goldman while maintaining its Sell rating.

Cabot Corp. (CBT): KeyBanc Capital gives Cabot Corp a Buy-from-Hold boost based on a sharp turnaround in demand for the company's products.

Sunpower (SPWRA): The solar stock gets upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform at Pacific Crest. See also Shining a Light on SunPower's Books.

Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB): Citigroup moves Fifth Third Bancorp and BB&T Corp, both to Buy from Hold.

Mentor Graphics (MENT): JP Morgan upgrades Mentor Graphics (Overweight from Underweight) and takes its target to $10.50 from $9.00.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY): The stock is added to Wedbush's Best Ideas List.

Downgrades

Abbott Labs (ABT): The pharmaceutical stock is pulled from the Conviction Buy list at Goldman, though the Buy rating remains intact. See also Health-Care Picks for Contrarians.

Priceline.com (PCLN): Kaufman removes Priceline.com from its Focus List due to valuation following November's 36% increase in the shares.

Pinnacle West (PNW): The stock is removed from Top Picks Live list at Citigroup.

Netflix (NFLX): Merriman cuts Netflix to Neutral from Buy with the shares up almost 50% since the start of September.

PetSmart (PETM): The stock is removed from the Best Ideas List at Wedbush. For another opinion, see Why Petsmart Looks Like a Smart Bet.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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